5 Shares a Week – Fruitful Friday Week 8 ’19

1 – Read of the week: The happiness advantage. I am really enjoying this work. His way of giving examples with very memorable stories and studies. I am extremely inspired to apply some of the lessons from this book now to my Improv practice or my 9-to-5!

2 – A nice moment of the week: I love feeling helpful. Whenever I can, I try to find an excuse to be helpful, even if some of the times I come across as “really over the top”. Having a NY colleague visiting our office, I spent half an hour writing a short summary of local places I love that have a really particular taste and feel; and I shared it!

3 – An inspirational video: I love this take on public health and food. We need more warriors like him in society. We need that energy to inspire new generations.

4 – A new tool: ProWritingAid is really helping me doing the first round of editing to my improv blog posts. It is extremely helpful with my vague word choices!

5 – A new (old) routine: I am enjoying 20min walks after lunch every day again. I didn’t realize how much I have missed them, but they really enhance my day while barely affecting my performance at work. I am already a fast eater anyway, and taking a moment to stretch my legs and enjoy some air gives me a lot of energy.

5 Shares a Week – Fruitful Friday Week 7 ’19

1 – Read of the week: Me before you – JoJo Moyes (as one of Good Reads award-winning books). Romantic novels are not my cup of tea, but I enjoyed having a new perspective on the needs and cares of a quadriplegic. In the book, they explore how important is for them to feel in charge of their own decisions.

2 – More read of the week: The Thank You Economy – Gary Vaynerchuk
I have learned a lot from Gary’s Youtube channel, so I decided to start with his oldest book that I could find on Audible. I am a firm believer of always doing your best and trying to help the people around you, without expecting anything back. He explores that mindset as a business!

3 – A new toy: I just got my new Canon M6, and I can’t wait to start playing around with it.

Do I know anything about photography? Not in the least. Do I know how to make videos? I haven’t even recorded on my phone. But I decided it was time for me to feel comfortable recording myself and my partner’s shows. Nowadays having an online presence is important, and I want to find if I am game for it.

Why this camera? It had great reviews. It is light enough, have great autofocus for recording on the go and didn’t break the bank.

4 – An unexpected lesson: Yesterday I came across a very educational video about boudoir photography. I didn’t realize how empowering is an experience like this. I know many people who would benefit from such a treat. And it made me wonder, how many mind-bending experiences am I missing because I don’t give them a try?

Improv has clearly changed my life. I have many friends who are empowered by pole dancing. Do you have any experience like this?

5 – A show that made me proud: Last week I went on stage with a very close friend and explored a new idea. We did an improv set, and we called it “Two manly men”, and we did the manliest thing we could think of: talk about our feelings on stage. The idea was breaking the tabu of seeing two men expressing their vulnerabilities. For a suggestion, we asked the men from our audience what was the last emotional conversation they had with their father. It was such a nice experience, and we got so much positive feedback.

5 Shares a Week – Fruitful Friday Week 6 ’19

1 – Things I have munchedThis pretty tasty meal prep. She also shared a piece of information I had no idea about: Soaking your legumes before cooking not only makes them cook faster but improves how well we absorb their proteins!

2 – An enjoyable surprise: I contacted two renown improvisers after writing about teaching improv to international crowds, and both of them came back to me with interested! I was lucky enough to schedule an hour-long chat with one of them yesterday, and I have learned SO MUCH from that talk! I’ll be working on the notes from that chat to get a nice summary.

3 – A moment of joy: I have a lovely coffee break with a friend this week. Sometimes, I have to force myself to be social and spend some quality time with people I don’t see often. It is stupid because I am aware of how much I enjoy talking to them! But, at the moment, I try to find a thousand excuses for why I should cancel.

4 – Something I really appreciate: Taking into consideration what day was yesterday, I want to take a moment to state how grateful I am for my partner. I am not an easy person to live with, and she has been such an unconditional supporter. It is going to be a challenging period (and I know she was also affected by my previous post about depression), but I feel very lucky to have such a loving person on my side.

5 – Training that I am enjoying: Recently I have changed my workout routine just to shake things up a little bit, and I am really digging the new training! It fits my time schedule, it feels challenging and it involves very simple exercises. What a nice surprise!

5 Shares a Week – Fruitful Friday

I may not take 5 a day… but I can do 5 a week!

There is a long and very personal post on the works, so this week I only have the time to publish this. Let’s share 5 interesting healthy snacks for our brains!

1 – Reading right now: Made to Stick – Chip Heath.
I am really digging some notes on how to make an idea more sticky. Chip is a brilliant storyteller and always provides a sticky anecdote to make the point. I have so many notes from this book, I will probably share them at some point!

2 – An interesting (and fast) read: Hot point fitness – Steve Zim.
I read this old (but gold) summary for a good training from Steve Zim. These are the 5 key points I keep from it while working out:

  • Breathing. “To enlist breathing as your ally, exhale as you drive the weight; hold the weight at the top of the movement; and inhale during the negative motion on a count of ‘one-two-three’.
  • Variety. “Perhaps the greatest mistake you can make, and one almost everyone who exercises makes, is to get into a routine when you exercise“. Changing the routines regularly helps to make training more entertaining. I will avoid controversial topics not talking about Muscle Confusion,
  • Balance. Symmetry prevents injury. We want to avoid compensating with our strong side while lifting, as that will affect our progression and it can easily cause problems.
  • Stretching. He recommends stretching the muscle we are working on between sets. That increases the time under tension (adding some stress on our hearts) and helps recovery by bringing more blood to the area.
  • Technique. Understand the technique of the exercise. Identify your goals and use the correct technique to reach them.

3 – A project I can’t stop thinking about: I want to create a journal app to record each improv performance.

I think the community would benefit from having a tool where you can save and share some notes from shows, create profiles and enhance the classes.

I have done no app development, so I spent some time understanding what would be needed and how can I start. Maybe it is a nice project to find someone on Fiverr and get it bootstrapped!

4 – What I have written somewhere else: The effects of improvising outside of your mother tongue.

I am passionate about understanding how English is affecting my performances. This is an ongoing discussion inside my community, so I decided to make a “short” writeup and share it on Reddit and Facebook. I loved the engagement it caused!

One of the comments pointed me to How Speaking a Second Language Affects the Way You Think. It is fascinating that our moral compasses might be affected by the language we are talking at the moment!

5 – A nice tool I have found: Many libraries with free stock images! These are not the ones that I normally use, so I like having some variety!

Having a blog, this is an invaluable asset! I also needed many strange pictures to make…

Extra points: Presentation karaoke

I love this improv game, and I decided to play at the office. All the PMs were in love with the idea of finding the “Ultimate presenter” in our company!

The preparation is fairly simple, but it involved having MANY silly pictures to create those presentations. This is the list I came up with, do you have any more examples on silly pictures? I really encourage you to give this game a go. It is so easy and fun!

What about you? Which are your 5 points of this week?

Fruitful Friday – Week 5 ’19

I may not take 5 a day… but I can do 5 a week!

I have decided to make a weekly summary of what I’ve learnt from what I am reading. There are many books that I have devoured too fast! Forcing myself to come with a one-or-two liner lesson sounds like a good practice. Also, inspired by Marcus’ 5 share, I have decided to also include other items that made me grow that week. Things like something that made me laugh, or something I need to share. What a simple way to better start my Fridays!  Now I can feel my baby-step growth, and share a bunch of silly things!

Read of the week: Improv Nation: How We Made a Great American Art – Sam Wasson.

I love learning the origins of Improv Comedy. I enjoy understanding the history of my hobbies, and I’m getting more involved with improv by the day. But let’s try to keep the improv content to a minimum! Let’s talk about something else that the book made me think of: how many North Americans think the world is about them.

It can be summarised on the quote: “and all of it as American as Democracy”. Sure. As democracy. A big part of the book talks about how Improv Comedy started in the States. It explains why it is a completely different art compared with its roots, like Commedia dell’arte. But when I heard him making that statement, I couldn’t help but chuckle. Of course, as American as Democracy.

This situation had happened before while talking with some North American friends. I don’t think it’s something unique to them, tho. Living in Denmark, I have heard comments on the lines of: “well, we don’t have that problem in Scandinavia, we would never act like that”. So I am pretty sure everyone has their own quirks!

Personally, I find it quite amusing. It makes me think of my dad! At home, we are all Spaniards but him (Italian). So, many times, he tries to convince us that Romans were the firsts doing (insert blank). Sure, there are many things that modern society should thank Romans for, but this argument usually escalates to the absurd very fast.

Quote that moved me: “A worried champ is more interesting than an overconfident champ”. It comes from Del Close class’ notes, unable to avoid the Improv theme. I see it as embracing ourselves, without using the “I have everything under control” mask. I fake confidence many times because I think that will help me. But, actually, seeing someone being honest (and worried) is always more interesting, intimate and powerful.

Toy I have started playing with: hosting a static page blog on GitHub. This blog is hosted on WordPress, but after restarting my writing habits I wondered if it is the best option. I also wanted another place to put my improv ideas, and maybe a new space to build some kind of resume.

Having a static page on GitHub sounded like an interesting idea! It requires minimum maintenance, it’s more affordable and some of the parts are open source. And I personally like the geekier feeling of using those tools.

What I have sunk my time on: getting comfortable with Lightworks. Learning the basics of video editing is almost becoming a mandatory skill. We have so much footage from Improv… It is a shame no one is doing anything with it! So I am using some of those clips as a playing ground.

This was also inspired by the chapter about editing in Essentialism. I am even thinking of writing about this on one of my future posts! Until then, let’s leave it on “To attain knowledge add things every day. To attain wisdom subtract things every day”. (Lao-tzu)